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Prep track and field: Luverne has big night at section meet

REDWOOD FALLS — The best high school track and field athletes from Southwestern Minnesota competed at the Redwood Valley track Thursday seeking to advance to next week’s state meet at Hamline University in St. Paul, June 6-7.

On a warm day with the temperature hovering just over 80 degrees, the top performers from four sub-section meets converged at the Section 3A Meet and were greeted with clear skies and almost no wind.

The top two finishers in all 36 events — 18 each for girls and boys — earned state-meet advancement, along with anyone else who matched or bettered the qualifying standard.

Two new meet records were set as BOLD/Buffalo Lake-Hector junior Josie Lilja soared over the pole vault BAR at 11 feet, one inch — snapping the old mark of 11-0 set by Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Bobbi Jo Buyck in 2004 — and Redwood Valley senior Ryan Phillips shattered the boys 800-meter run record (1:57.36 by Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd’s Ryan Swenson in 2011) with an impressive 1:55.41, winning by more than six seconds.

LQPV/D-B senior sprinter Jacinta Roggenbuck was a triple winner Thursday, winning all three girls dashes, notching times of 13.10 (100), 26.38 (200) and 1:00.10 (400).

Luverne senior Cody Rofshus won both the shot put (54-1) and the discus (153-9), while Windom Area senior Victor Ogeka claimed gold medals in both the long jump (20-0.5) and triple jump (43-11.75) highlighting area top performances in the boys field events.

On the track, Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI senior Nathan Pavek won both boys hurdles races, clocking times of 15.74 (110-meter highs) and 40.51 (300 intermediates). He also placed second in the high jump (5-11).

RV junior Kayla Huhnerkoch was outstanding in the girls meet, winning both the 1,600-meter run (5:09.35) and the 800 (2:17.60) before running a tremendous anchor leg on the Cardinals winning 4x400 relay (4:08.43), taking RV from third to first in a very close race.

Luverne, which won three of the four girls relays and also picked up a first from sophomore Morgan Edwards in the shot put (35-9.75), edged LQPV/D-B for the team title, 83.5 to 82.

“We had a good day,” summed up LHS head coach Craig Nelson. “We advanced a lot of kids to the state meet, especially by winning those three relays, which was really nice.”

Montevideo was third in the girls standings with 71 points, followed by C/M/LH (55), RV (44), Pipestone Area (39.5) and Mountain Lake Area and BOLD/BL-H each with 32, completing the top eight. A total of 22 teams scored points in the girls meet.

LHS started the meet with a victory in the 4x800-meter relay (9:49.43) with the foursome of Jadyn Anderson, Gabrielle Ferrell, Madi Schandelmeier and Makayla Hohn. The Cardinals ran away with the 4x200 (1:47.66) as Sierra Schuck, Naomi Dooyema, Kynzie Smedsrud and Tayla Peterson exchanged the batons. Luverne’s third victory came when the quartet of Schmuck, Dooyema, Joci Oye and Peterson blazed a winning time of 51.74 in the 4x100.

Adrian senior Nicole Slater won the 3,200 (11:48.94) and also qualified in the 1,600. She finished a close third, but bettered the state-meet standard (5:14.47) with her time of 5:14.08.

PA sophomore Maria Spanier finished very strong over the last three hurdles and claimed a victory in the 300 lows (46.73), passing C/M/LH senior Morgan Merritt (second, 47.43) over the final barrier. Merritt had earlier won the 100-meter high hurdles (16.34).

T-M-B freshman Kendra Ludeman (5-1) and junior teammate Samantha Gervais (4-11) placed one-two in the high jump and both Panthers will compete at Hamline.

Other area girls who qualified individually with second-place performances Thursday include Ferrell (3,200, 12:00.42), MCC’s Paris Thomas (100 high hurdles, 16.41), Windom’s Amy Muller (pole vault, 8-8) and Luverne’s Kami Sawtelle (discus, 107-9).

MLA’s 4x200 relay (Mikayla Falk, Emily Jahnke, Brianna Soutthivong and Tayla Peterson) finished second with a time of 1:49.66. The Wolverines 4x400 team just missed, placing third (4:10.26).

Thone anchors LHS 4x200,

wins open 200 in 22.95

Luverne senior sprinter Dirk Thone ran a pair of impressive 200s. After running a stellar anchor leg on the Cardinals winning 4x200-meter relay (1:32.12), he claimed a second gold medal by winning the 200-meter dash with a fine time of 22.95.

“Dirk has really had a great season for us,” praised Nelson. “He certainly ran a pair of great 200s today.”

Preceding Thone on the LHS 4x200 were Jackson Winter, Blake Richters and Trenton Rops.

The Cardinals also qualified in the 4x800, finishing second (8:27.28) with the team of Drew Weis, Payton Stemper, Ethan Marshall and Cody Hess.

In a very close chase for the boys team title, Montevideo came out on top with 77.25 points, just nipping Jackson County Central (76.5) and Luverne (75.25).

MLA, paced by state-qualifying performers Jose Gonzales and Hunter Quiring, finished a solid fourth with 67.5 points, followed in the top eight by C/M/LH (64), RV (54), Windom Area (41.75) and Springfield/Cedar Mountain/Comfrey (30). A total of 22 of the 26 participating teams scored in the boys meet.

Other event winners included BOLD/BL-H’s Niko Berge (pole vault, 12-7), LQPV/D-B’s Joey Lee (high jump, 5-11), Wabasso’s TJ Fulton (100, 11.44), Central Minnesota Christian (400, 50.47), Montevideo’s Kurt TeBeest (1,600, 4:32.94) and Montevideo’s Spencer Sulflow (3,200, 10:24.43).

Redwood Valley won both the 4x100 (44.47) and 4x400 (3:29.29) relays, while C/M/LH took first in the 4x800 (8:21.52).

MLA advanced its 4x400 relay to the state meet with a second-place time of 3:33.13. Running for the Wolverines were Jared Saunders, Cody Klassen, Caleb Bargen and Gonzales.

Windom’s 4x100 team (Alex Leopold, Brian Ogeka, Tyler Morgan and Victor Ogeka) will also run at Hamline after finishing second Thursday with a time of 44.76.

JCC senior Nolan Hohenstein qualified twice, placing second in both the shot put (53-3.25) and discus (143-8).

“Nolan had a super day,” declared JCC head coach Rafiel York. “We had lots of third places, coming so close to advancing in several other events.”

MCC’s Tyler Scotting (15.89) just nipped JCC’s Jon Harmening (15.90) for second in the 110-meter high hurdles. Harmening placed third in the triple jump (41-9.5) and fourth in the 300 intermediate hurdles (42.36), just missing a state-meet trip in those two events, as well.

Gonzales did qualify twice, placing second in both the long jump (19-9.5) and the 800 (2:01.53), as did Quiring who rallied with several clutch vaults and claimed the silver medal in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 12-7.

T-M-B senior Matt Lavoy, qualified with a second-place finish in the 1,600 (4:40.78).

PA sophomore Eli Stevens came close twice, finishing third in both the 400 (51.36) and 200 (23.45), while Klassen (third, 300 hurdles, 41.55), JCC’s Brandon Schmit (third, discus, 133-0) and both PA’s Collin Moeller and JCC‘s Ryan Salzwedel tied for third in the high jump (5-9).